Home > Campaigns >

Food Processing and Manufacturing

Photo with thanks to Nelson Mail

The Service and Food Workers Union represents people who work in food processing and manufacturing industries across New Zealand.
 The food processing sector makes up around 20% of the SFWU membership and members are predominantly employed for companies that have big work sites - many with more than one site through out the country. 

 If you are not an SFWU member and would like to find out about joining please phone SFWU MEMBER SUPPORT on 0800 UNION1 (0800 864661).

Industry news

"Fishy Goings On" in the New Zealand Fishing Industry

SFWU Strategic Industry Leader for Food Processing and Manufacturing, Chas Muir wrote an excellent article for the December 2010 issue of Watchdog.

"The New Zealand fishing industry promised to create employment for New Zealand workers, in particular there was to be a process of positive discrimination re Maori workers in relation of the purchase of Sealord as part of the Treaty settlement. It was quoted that this purchase would create 800 jobs and provide career pathing and management training for young Maori but in reality this simply did not happen. In the last three years Sealord has terminated about 700 workers employed on land and sea and these workers have been replaced by foreign labour!....." read the full article online here.


Read the latest Food Sector newsletter for SFWU members by clicking on the graphic below.

  • Cadbury -  With the takeover of the 186-year-old British chocolate maker by Kraft in February 2010 - which cost them $US 19.5 billion ($NZ 27.4 billion) - staff are very much on 'tender hooks' and feel it is very much a waiting game regarding their futures. The Union is keeping a close eye on developments, and working with members on the site.

Barnes Oysters -  Openers received a 13% increase with hourly rate workers receiving an increase of approximately 12%. Barnes Oysters are the single biggest oyster opening wholesaling plant in southland and its workers have always been union members.

  • McCain Foods - McCain Foods members in Hastings are expecting the job to get busy as McCain's invest heavily in the region. Unfortunately it comes at a time of lost union jobs in Tasmania, with McCain Foods announcing that it will close its vegetable processing plant in Smithton Tasmania at the end of the year with the loss of nearly 200 full-time and casual jobs.
  • Griffin's -  Members of the SFWU, EPMU and NDU voted to ratify a settlement that we hope will ensure the future of the Griffin's Papakura plant. Of the 242 members who voted, 184 - 77% voted yes. The key changes are first, the introduction of a new skills-based pay structure, linked to portable qualifications through NZQA. The rates begin at $14.75 for new workers and increase to $25. Secondly, new roster patterns will be used to cope with extra production volume. The standard roster shift, based on the 8-hour day, Monday to Friday, will continue for current production with no changes to the current overtime provisions.  The pay increase is 3% from 1 November 2009, 3% from 1 November 2010 and 2% from 1 November 2011, with the expiry 6 months later to June 2012.

  • Sealord  - The Union has filed for facilitated bargaining. The employment authority has ruled that facilitated bargaining is appropriate and has set down 19 April as the kick off date for this process.The authority has also set down 17 and 19 May. Facilitated bargaining is where an independent authority member meets with the parties and after presentation of the facts and arguments from both sides put up a recommendation for settlement. The recommendation is not binding on either party but is a finding that should be seriously considered. The hearings will be held at Sealord and members of the union affected will be kept fully informed as the process in undertaken.

Click on the links below to read stories about Sealord which were featured in Our Voice last year.
Spring 2009      Winter 2009

International Solidarity

The SFWU is a member of the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF) - an international federation of trade unions representing workers employed in agriculture and plantations; preparation and manufacture of food and beverages; hotels, restaurants and catering services, and all stages of tobacco processing The IUF is currently composed of 336 trade unions in 120 countries representing a combined membership of over 12 million workers. It is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

We also have a very close working relationship with our Australian brothers and sisters in the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the Australian Workers Union (AWU).



Living Wage

Latest SFWU Nga Ringa Tota News

Government attacks on lowest paid just keep on coming
"The Government has put the boot into low income workers again," said Service and Food Workers... more...

Labour Minister Ignores Call for Consultation On Minimum Wage
“The Minister of Labour has arrogantly ignored the concerns of unions and low-income... more...

Government report boasts about measures National plans to axe
Government report boasts about measures National plans to axeThe union which represents some of the... more...

A few cents won't send workers into rock star economy
"Today's minimum wage increase will make little difference to hard working New Zealanders living on... more...

TPPA will make life worse for low-paid workers
"The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement will not make low-paid workers' lives better," said... more...